Jack White’s Third Man Records has made its name on compellingly ambiguous projects that exist in a sort of quantum superposition of established formats: a record store that’s also a recording studio, a box set that’s also a piece of furniture. The company has just announced that it’s moving into the publishing world with the first release from its Third Man Books imprint, and as should be expected, the “book” that it’s putting out isn’t just a book.
Language Lessons: Volume I has its bookish aspects—in particular, a 321-page hardbound anthology of prose and poetry co-edited by poet/musician Chet Weise and Third Man co-founder Ben Swank that includes award-winning writers like Dale Ray Phillips, C.D. Wright, and Adrian Matejka. It also includes five prints of poems illustrated by underground comics artist Jim Blanchard and Tim Kerr, the former guitarist for Texan hardcore pioneers Big Boys. And to take the project to the level of complexity that Third Man is famous for, the “book” also includes a compilation album that includes contributions from such diverse artists as trash-rockers Destruction Unit and legendary avant-jazz saxophonist Ken Vandermark.
The set, which retails for $50, arrives on shelves August 5 and is available for pre-order now.